I've never been one to engage myself in the guessing game that is the Mock Draft. Unfortunately, with my exposure to the inner workings of the hockey culture with the New York Islanders, it has spawned a new-found understanding of the pundits. They are rarely correct in their assumptions of what a team will do but they are absolutely spot-on when it comes to evaluating prospects. So without further ado, I give you my attempt at being a pundit: Let me know what you think in the Comments section.
Yes, I know what you're thinking. Didn't you say that it was going to be Victor Hedman two months ago? I did say that, but that's what I believed Garth might do at the time. With just over two weeks to go before the Draft, I think it's time that I spoke my opinion about who I want for the Islanders coming out of this year's Draft.
Click the link to get the full listing of my Mock Draft.
1. New York Islanders-John Tavares C, London Knights, OHL
--I still have my doubts that Garth isn’t just playing everyone for fools and will take JT at #1. Let’s all just hope for the best. Let’s be honest, the Isles could use the scoring and even if he doesn’t turn into Crosby #2, it’s 20-30 goals you didn’t have last year.
2. Tampa Bay Lightning-Victor Hedman D, MODO, SEL
--This is no consolation prize. A generational d-man with size, speed and skill, nothing else need be said. You can’t really say much else except for the fact that the Lightning lucked out and will have a solid blueline starting next season with this young man.
3. Colorado Avalanche-Matt Duchene, Brampton Battalion C, OHL
--Give the kid billed as the next “Stevie Y” a little time to develop with Uncle Joe.
4. Atlanta Thrashers-Evander Kane, Vancouver Giants C, WHL
--Kovi+Kane=Whatever winger on the left side you want. Might project better as a winger. At that point, any center will do. Good strength and size for his age.
5. Los Angeles Kings-Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson LW, Timra, SEL
--Another highly-skilled forward to go along with their stable of already highly-skilled forwards. Could be a game-breaker.
6. Phoenix Coyotes-Dmitry Kulikov D, Drummondville Voltigeurs, QMJHL
--Stock has really been on the rise of late and is a complete defensive workhorse. He will be rewarded for a lot of hard work during the Memorial Cup.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs-Brayden Schenn C, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
--With Burke not able to acquire any higher slot and subsequently Tavares, taking the younger Schenn is no slouchy trade-off.
8. Dallas Stars-Jared Cowen D, Spokane Chiefs, WHL
--Coming off a knee injury that kept him out the majority of last season, the big d-man rebounds and will be a huge asset to the Lone Stars. Think Derian Hatcher.
9. Ottawa Senators-John Moore D, Chicago Steel, USHL
--Arguably the best skater in the draft and by far the best American d-man.
10. Edmonton Oilers-Zack Kassian RW, Peterborough Petes, OHL
--Rough and tumble winger fills a need for the Oilers who need to get tougher.
11. Nashville Predators-Oliver Ekman-Larsson D, Leksands, Swe-2
--Slick Swedish d-man who snuck up on everybody. Will be an impact player once he matures.
12. Minnesota Wild-Jordan Schroeder RW, US-NTDP U18
--Although small in size, Schroeder makes up for it with speed and skill; good fit.
13. Buffalo Sabres-Ryan Ellis D, Windsor Spitfires, OHL
--Ellis is the ideal replacement for Brian Campbell. Quick, skilled and a good first pass, combine to make this smallish d-man a real high-quality pick at this spot.
14. Florida Panthers-Simon Despres D, St. John Sea Dogs, QMJHL
--Can anyone say “JayBo’s replacement”? Despres is a smooth-skating offensive d-man with good size. Within 2 years he will be a solid NHLer.
15. Anaheim Ducks-Carter Ashton RW, Lethbridge Hurricanes, WHL
--Follows the model of large man with skills that Anaheim has built on since Brian Burke was the GM.
16. Columbus Blue Jackets-Scott Glennie RW, Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL
--A goal scorer, period. Will definitely vie for a spot in the Jackets top 6.
17. St. Louis Blues-Jacob Josefson C, Djurgarden, SEL
--The Blues have always had good luck with Euro imports. Josefson should not be a disappointment as he will grow to be a solid center.
18. Montreal Canadiens-Nazem Kadri C, London Knights, OHL
--After putting up a good showing in the OHL Playoffs, Kadri will get a ride to Les Habitants due to his great hand-eye, complete package and willingness to bleed Bleu, Blanc et. Rouge.
19. New York Rangers-Peter Holland C, Guelph Storm, OHL
--Gifted two-way center that will help solidify the top 9 in the Big Apple. He’s been compared to Tomas Holmstrom for his penchant for standing in front.
20. Calgary Flames-Jordan Caron C, Rimouski Oceanic, QMJHL
--Size and hands. He should be a really good fit in an already strong offense in Alberta.
21. Philadelphia Flyers-Nick Leddy D, Eden Prarie Rams, MN-HS
--After stealing Sbisa late in the 1st Round last year, the Flyers continue picking up sleeper d-men in this year’s Draft starting with “Mr. Hockey 2009”.
22. Vancouver Canucks-Kyle Palmieri RW/C, US-NTDP U18
--With the Sedins possibly on the way out, Palmieri will provide some scoring punch for the Canucks to aide Ryan Kesler.
23. New Jersey Devils-Landon Ferraro RW, Red Deer Rebels, WHL
--Let the trend continue. The Devils have found success with Parise. How could it hurt to take yet another Islander by association?
24. Washington Capitals-Tim Erixon D, Skelleftea, SEL
--A glaring deficiency arose during the playoffs, namely defense. Pair Erixon with Green on the PP and give him ample minutes at even-strength. It also helps that Karl Alzner, the Caps top D prospect, will be with the big team next year.
25. Boston Bruins-Chris Krieder LW, Andover Academy, MA-HS
--While not playing the most competitive hockey out there, Krieder has managed to impress just about everybody. Had a fantastic Combine.
26. New York Islanders (from San Jose)-David Rundblad D, Skelleftea, SEL
--Skilled Swede with good puck-moving abilities. Should fit right in after one more year in the SEL.
27. Carolina Hurricanes-Louis LeBlanc C, Omaha Lancers, USHL
--The Hurricanes just didn’t have the scoring power to overcome the Penguins in the Conference Finals. LeBlanc should be able to help.
28. Chicago Blackhawks-Jeremy Morin C, US-NTDP U18
--Who doesn’t want more good American players coming from the NTDP? They seem to be producing some solid players these days.
29. Detroit Red Wings-Calvin de Haan D, Oshawa Generals, OHL
--Ever heard of Brian Rafalski? Well, what’s wrong with bringing in a point-per-game younger version?
30. Pittsburgh Penguins-Drew Shore C, US-NTDP U18
--Good size and skill but will need some college seasoning. Will fit right in a couple of years down the road.
Let me know what you think in the Comments section.